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Appeal court strikes down prison term for IGP over contempt

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has overturned its ruling sentencing Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba to prison for contempt on November 29, 2022.

In a decision on Wednesday, Justice Bolaji Olajuwon stated that there was evidence in front of the court demonstrating that the IGP has mostly cooperated with the court’s earlier judgment requiring the reinstatement of an officer, Patrick Okoli, who was forced into retirement

According to Justice Olajuwon, given the new information, the IGP’s request for the cancellation of the committal order merits sympathetic consideration.

Olajuwon said, “In view of the substantial compliance with the order of the court and the assurance of ensuring full compliance, the order commuting the applicant, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, is hereby set aside.”

The judge had found the IGP guilty and given him a three-month jail term for disobeying the Federal High Court’s order of October 21, 2011, restoring Okoli, in the verdict from November 29.

Okoli was forced to retire in 1992 while working as a Chief Superintendent of Police for the Bauchi State Command. The Police Council (now Police Service Commission) claimed to have acted in accordance with Decree 17 of 1984, but the court overturned that decision in its October 2011 ruling.

After the initial ruling, IGP Baba, addressed the Court to file a plea to set aside the contempt process and committal order.

The IGP outlined numerous reasons why the orders should be overturned in the motion he submitted to the Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory on December 1, 2022.

He specifically noted the fact that he had not yet been appointed as Inspector-General of Police at the time the case was filed and the reinstatement order in question was granted.

In his reaction after Wednesday’s ruling, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a spokesperson for the Force, responded by saying it was evidence of Baba’s innocence and respect for the law.

Adejobi said, “Today’s verdict proves the innocence of the IGP, Usman Baba, and his and the NPF’s respect for the rule of law. We will, however, release an official statement soon.”

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